Tool thoughts #29: Been one of those weeks...

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Blog entry by NedB posted 08-10-2012 01:48 PM 1653 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 28: The Punch-list Part 29 of Tool thoughts series Part 30: Suffering from 'what-next?'-itis... time for a shop cleaning update »

Morning all [_]D

taking a few minutes this morning to catch up here.

I’m a professional photographer (as opposed to just your average person who owns a camera), and my ‘employer’ scheduled me for a training class this week to try and teach me to become a salesman for their products.

Well folks, the class was ‘good’ as such things go. Instructors were earnest, knowledgeable and I did learn a few things. HOwever I’ve decided that I’m going to take some of that instruction and despite their urgings, I’m going to apply it for my own benefit, and not necessarily to theirs. I took a good hard look at my classmates, and than at myself… and I realized, I’ve been wasting my time in the environment that I’d been working in. SO I’m going to hang my shingle and start up my own studio. If I can ‘sell’ as they taught me, I’m darned sure going to get 100% of the profits, not just 16% which is my ‘cut’ from any sales under their model. Sales is a fact of life in any business, and it can be a challenge in this economy, but if you make a good product or provide a good service (photography is a bit of both…) and you’re extremely lucky and/or talented you might make a living at whatever you do.
I’m not going to continue to run myself ragged, give up my home life and not see my youngest boy grow up for very little money. Instead I’m going to work hard, fledge and build a new business and enjoy being around my family. I may still run myself ragged, but I’m going to do it for my benefit, not some corporation.

Now, tool thoughts… because I had a three day road trip for work, I’ve had zero shop time since the weekend. It is raining today, which means I’m not going to climb any ladders and hang siding on the shop, however I Am planning on getting out there and
1) finish my router table (install the base plate under it)
2) build a shelf for my grinder
3) hang some lights
4) finish my wolverine clone
5) start some end grain cutting boards

thanks for checking in and ‘listening’ to my ramblings.


-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

6 comments so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3611 days

#1 posted 08-10-2012 01:51 PM

More power to you, and good luck.

-- Joe

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 08-10-2012 02:18 PM

I wish the best for you in starting your own business. I’ve been in business for myself, as a partner and have conducted business for others. So, I’ve had experience.
Without being negative, because I really hope you succeed, allow me to point out some business facts.
The sixteen percent you get as commission is yours and you don’t have to pay others out of that.
In business, depending on how things go, your expenses and overhead can reduce your profit to zero.
Half of your social security payments are paid by your employer, but self employed people pay both halves.
Minimize or avoid debt. Especially credit card debt. If you do need to borrow get a bank loan with a much lower percentage.
Don’t hire anyone if you can do it yourself. That includes everything. I have never hired a contractor to do anything in my business including plumbing, heating, computer technology, advertising, building maintenance, electrical work or sales.
Be enthusiastic but play your cards close to the chest.
Choose a specialty, whether it’s product photos, portraiture, automobiles or whatever, but build a reputation for being really good at your target specialty.
Allow me to say again, don’t carry debt. It’s what sinks every business failure.

Now, as to the workshop, be sure to save time for your woodworking. It’s what will keep you sane.

Best regards,

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3616 days

#3 posted 08-10-2012 02:36 PM

Don, I truly appreciate the advice, and I will put it to use. I’m already in the ‘no debt’ mode. I have the tools to get started, and any purchases will be saved up for and paid for by the business.

I’m planning on three ‘aspects’ at first, time will tell which pays the best:
Senior portraiture (I’ve done more portraits than I can count, for other people)
Real Estate photos (same as above)
Event photography (everything But weddings… at this point I don’t want to do weddings unless specifically asked to do one.)
plus fine art photos, there are a couple of galleries in the area who are willing to display my work for a commission so I’m going to get a few fine art prints made up for them as well.
it is going to come down to marketing, and a whole lot of hard work. I’ve done the work for others, time to reap the benefits of my work ethic myself for a change.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View David White's profile

David White

120 posts in 3331 days

#4 posted 08-10-2012 10:58 PM

Hi Ned

Firstly – good luck. I have been self-employed for 12 years and I can honestly say that although its hard sometimes, I wouldn’t ever go back to working for someone else.

Secondly some advice – find and join a BNI chapter. BNI is a business networking group whose motto is “Givers Gain”. Each chapter meets once a week and will basically become your sales team – they will actively promote your business, just as you do theirs. The meetings are formulaic, but they work. I am currently the president of my chapter and have been a member for 10 years. Most (yes most) of my work (I’m an IT guy) comes either directly or indirectly from BNI referrals. I believe I would have gone out of business if it were not for BNI.

There will certainly be a chapter somewhere near you.
All the best – Dave.


View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3616 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 04:25 PM

Thanks Dave, I’ll give them (you) a look when I get a bit more advanced with my business plan etc… (cards would be helpful, website too…)

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3616 days

#6 posted 08-12-2012 08:30 AM

Well that punch list didn’t get finished. I did get the grinder hung on the wall, and the jig for supporting the fingernail grind clamp is in progress (it works, but I need to iron out the height a bit more… ). The Lights were a total failure… never did get out there and put up the one fluorescent fixture I picked up a few weeks ago, Need to get on that today. Going to be a day of distractions I’m afraid. We’re having a crew in and will be getting a new roof installed on the house. Long overdue I’m afraid, but at least I’m not going to be up on the darned ladder doing it. Going with a steel roof, should last about two to three times as long as we’re expecting to live here.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

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